HC Deb 20 June 1888 vol 327 cc775-8

Bill, as amended, considered.

MR. W. F. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)

said, when the Bill was in Committee he had, on short Notice, drafted a clause with reference to the form of Order for detention of offenders, which, having been hurriedly considered, was rejected by the Committee. But thinking that there were good reasons for the admission of the clause, he had redrawn it, and now begged to submit it to the House. He found since last week that he had ample ground to go upon. The Bill proceeded on the lines of the Act of 1866, and as his desire was to follow that Act more strictly than was done in the Bill, he had adapted the clause which required the gaoler to detain the offender for 14 days to the case provided for in the Bill. His object was to impress on the person detaining the offender and the offender himself the nature and importance of the position in which they would stand to each other. He thought it should be made clear to the house that a now position was about to be created. He pointed out that while the keeper was not, as the Bill stood, to have brought home to him the consequences of any casual neglect, the person in his charge was liable to three months' imprisonment, with or without hard labour, if he took French leave and ran away from him—that was to say, to avoid the objectionable practice of sending a boy to prison in the first instance, he might run away and then get a sentence of three months' imprisonment. For those reasons, he thought, they ought in the most formal way to set out the position as between the keeper and the offender in the manner proposed in the Schedule to which the clause he was about to move referred. He was prepared not merely to support the clause on principle, but also the Schedule which he should propose, and which was wholly unobjectionable as well as quite desirable. It was unobjectionable because it followed exactly the order for detention contained in the Act of 1866, which, like his new clause, was permissive. It seemed to him unwise to give a boy who had been sentenced to four years in a reformatory school the chance of escaping too easily from his keeper during his 14 days' detention.

New Clause—

(Form of Order of detention.)

"The order for the detention of an offender made in pursuance of this Act may as to its formal parts be in the form set forth in the Schedule to this Act, and shall contain on the face of it the penalties incurred by persons under section seven of this Act,"—(Mr. W. F. Lawrence,)

brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Clause be read the second time," put, and agreed to.


said, he agreed with his hon. Friend that it was, in regard to this new departure, necessary to take all possible precautions with a view to preventing the powers of the Bill to be exercised with laxity. But he might observe that it was very doubtful whether the first part of the proposed clause was necessary. His hon. Friend would find that by the 36th section of the Act of 1866, certain forms might be used to meet circumstances which might arise, and that one of these was the form of order for detention, which he submitted with a slight alteration could be made appropriate to the Bill. He failed to perceive what it was his hon. Friend had added to the clause of the Act of 1866 by his clause and Schedule which they could usefully adopt. He observed that his hon. Friend made it compulsory that there should be a statement on the face of the detention order of the penalty to which persons might be liable for what he might call escaping from the Bill. But he thought it would be much more desirable to take powers for a Public Department which had ample time for the purpose to settle the necessary forms.

MR. DUGDALE (Warwickshire, Nuneaton)

said, he agreed that the form of order for detention should bear on its face the penalties incurred by persons for evading the Act; but he did not see any necessity for any form being set out in a Schedule to the Bill, because it was provided that the Act of 1866 should be constantly at one with this Act, and by Section 36 of the former Act it was provided that no summons or order for carrying out the provisions of the Act should be invalid for want of form, and that the Schedules might be used with such variations as might be required. Therefore he thought the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman unnecessary, and would prefer to leave it to the Home Office to frame rules, or else to follow the Act of 1866 with such alterations of form as might be necessary.


said, he did not think they ought to pass an Act with any doubtful matter in it. It would be premature to express any opinion on the Schedule of the hon. Gentleman now; but he hoped the clause would be read a second time.


suggested, that after "be," in line 2, they should add the words— Such as from time to time shall be framed by one of Her Majesty's Secretaries of State, and shall contain on the face of it the penalties provided for by this Act.

Mr. J. G. TALBOT (Oxford University)

said, this proposal went against the principle that the Act ought to be complete in itself. It was pretty generally admitted that one of the great faults of modern legislation was that it was so common for one Act to refer to others, and it was a pity to repeat this error. If the forms of the Act of 1866 were good, he did not see why they were not good enough for the present Bill.


said, the change made by the Bill was clearly not contemplated by the Act of 1866, and the circumstances under which the forms could be varied could not by any stretching be considered to have relation to the cases contemplated by the Bill. The Act of 1866 provided for the temporary imprisonment of the juvenile offender, whereas the object of the Bill was exactly the opposite. It provided that the offender should not be imprisoned, but that in order that he should not be contaminated during the time he was waiting to be sent to a reformatory he should be kept in the private custody of some person. He did not think the Schedule of the hon. Gentleman desirable.


said, they ought to provide machinery to allow the Act to be properly worked the moment it came into force.

Verbal Amendments made.

Amendment proposed— In line 2 of the new Clause to leave out the words "in the form set forth in the Schedule of this Act," and insert "with such variations as circumstances require, as shall be from time to time prescribed by one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State."—(Mr. Stuart-Wortley.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.

On the Motion of Mr. DUGDALE the following Amendment made:—In Clause 4, page 2, line 11, leave out "police" and insert "a police officer appointed for the purpose by the said Court Justices or magistrate;" in Clause 5, page 2, line 19, after "magistrate" insert "and thence to the reformatory school."

Bill to be read the third time upon Friday.